Most young entrepreneurs can’t wait until graduation. They finally can be free to roam the business world in search of the company that they’re going to make millions off of without the mundane tests and ever-increasingly mundane professors.
For aspiring entrepreneurs who are not yet convinced they’ve found the right business for them, and who need a paycheck to cover loans: do the entrepreneurial thing and think outside of the box.
That means going corporate. When I say corporate, I don’t mean a 20-person, stable firm where they wear distressed jeans and t-shirts and indoor sunglasses. The problem with this type of job is that many businesses never amount to much and seeing a nothing business fail won’t teach you as much as working for a business that is mature will.
I’m talking a full-fledged cubicle farm with human resource representatives, unhappy co-workers, terribly complacent managers, poor lighting and where if it weren’t for the lack of steel bars, you’d think it was a minimum-security penitentiary.
I did it for my first job and it was exceedingly invaluable.
This is what you will learn that cannot otherwise be taught:
A Walking Business Analyst – The best thing corporate ever did for me as an entrepreneur was that it showed me how business should not be done. The firm I worked for over about 4 months after graduating college taught me that business could move a lot faster if it weren’t for a multitude of people who had to make a decision on something. It was enlightening to a 24-year-old.
Also, corporate firmly entrenched in me that my opinion did not matter. My boss’s boss’ opinion did not matter. When you’re so low on the ladder, you could yell fire and be written-up for insubordination.
The thing that really scared me about corporate and what it will teach you is that in their whole career many employees never get to the point where their opinion even matters.
I would feel very bad for the people in the 40’s who were in my position because their unimportance within the company was so solidified that they were like broken spirits. For me, this lit a fire.
Spend Some Time With the Buck, It’ll Be Easier to Shoot
Part of me would like to be the fly on the wall of a corporate company for a few hours. I’d say a full day, but I hear much misery come from those who do just that.
My only corporate experience was one that was a work from home job so I didn’t see bureaucracy up close and personal. I only heard it on the phone and, to an entrepreneur who knew that simply being well-off would not make him happy, it was like nails on a chalkboard.
When an entrepreneur wants to start any B2B company and make it a million dollar firm, they are probably (not always) going to have to deal with companies such as the one I worked for. It’s a whole different ballgame when dealing with corporate America.
Many of the corporate buyers know that they have the power, a very frustrating thing when they have none at work and take a power trip out on you.
Also, tick the wrong the person off and your service or product’s ranking get pushed to the bottom of the pile, regardless of whether it could save money, jobs, or even lives. Finally, most RFP’s by vendors are thrown back them and laughed at.
Many entrepreneurs who are young have trouble dealing with situations such as these. The result is always negative and can take the form of giving out insane discounts that yield no profit and no respect from the buyer; not getting the business at all; waiting for a few months not to get the business; or being blacklisted never to see a check from the company in your life.
Small- to mid-size businesses don’t behave this way because many have been in corporate and didn’t like it. However, a first hand account of corporate culture is a lot more credible than asking your boss of a mid- to small-size firm.